Definition of cottier in US English:



  • 1archaic A rural laborer living in a cottage.

    • ‘The tenants, she noted, were a varied group, comprising farmers with large holdings, smallholders and at the bottom of the pile the landless cottiers and labourers, many of whom disappeared without trace in the middle of the 19th century.’
    • ‘I grew up in a society where big farmers looked down on small farmers and small farmers in turn looked down on cottiers and landless men.’
    • ‘The gap separating wealthy peasant farmers from cottiers and day labourers widened imperceptibly.’
  • 2historical An Irish peasant holding land by cottier tenure.

    • ‘The famine originated with the recurrent failure of the potato crop, devastating the Irish cottier and small farmer classes.’
    • ‘Issues that aroused dissatisfaction included rents, tithes, evictions, and wages, and protest could be aimed at landlords, clergy, and even tenant farmers who sub-let to cottiers and agricultural labourers.’
    • ‘In pre-famine Ireland the average cottier consumed anything between 7 and 14 lb of potatoes per day.’
    • ‘But Mr. Mill forgets that, till you change the character of the Irish cottier, peasant-proprietorship would work no miracles.’
    • ‘They were followed by tenant farmers to whom they leased land, and the cottiers who usually rented land on a year-by-year basis and were the most susceptible to economic downturns.’
    agricultural worker, small farmer, rustic, son of the soil, countryman, countrywoman, farmhand, swain, villein, serf
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Middle English: from Old French cotier, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to cot.